Kobe Pace ran for a career-high 191 yards and two touchdowns as Clemson won its 13th straight over No. 13 Wake Forest, delaying the Demon Deacons’ run to the ACC Atlantic title with a 48-27 victory Saturday.
Will Shipley gained 112 yards with two touchdowns and also threw a 2-yard jump pass TD to Davis Allen for the Tigers (8-3, 6-2 Atlantic Coast Conference), who won their 34th straight at home. Clemson also kept its hopes of a seventh straight trip to the ACC title game alive with the stunning rout of Wake Forest (9-2, 6-1).
The Demon Deacons entered the game averaging 44.7 points and 498 yards a game. They left with a season low in points and had only 36 yards rushing.
With time running out, chants of “Over-Rated,” rang out through Death Valley, where Wake Forest has not won since 1998. Fans filled the field at the end, the school reinstating its long-held tradition it first suspended in 2020 because of the pandemic.
Still, Wake Forest remains in the divisional driver’s seat and can make its first championship game appearance in 15 years by beating Boston College next Saturday.
For the Tigers to reach the title game, they would need Wake Forest to lose to BC and have No. 25 North Carolina lose one of its final two games.
Clemson, at last, looked the part of the ACC preseason favorite as it battered Wake Forest and quarterback Sam Hartman.
Hartman was sacked seven times and threw an interception. The Deacons also fumbled twice, both leading to Clemson touchdowns. Hartman finished with 312 yards and a fourth-quarter touchdown with Wake trailing by 22 points.
Clemson, looking to redeem itself from a struggling season, came out on fire on both sides of the ball.
It’s ACC-leading defense sacked Hartman three times on Wake Forest’s first two possessions while the offense managed two lengthy drives to lead 10-0 less than nine minutes in as things began to look like most Wake Forest-Clemson games during the Tigers’ winning streak.
Clemson put things away in the third quarter on Pace’s 8-yard touchdown run and a 58-yard pass from D.J. Uiagalelei to Beaux Collins to take a 31-13 lead.
Uiagalelei hit 11 of 19 passes for 208 yards. Collins, Uiagalelei’s high-school teammate, had four catches for 137 yards.
Wake Forest: Clemson must live in the Demon Deacons’ heads. With a title on the line and having their best chance at ending an embarrassing losing streak, they looked nervous and unprepared. The Deacons must straighten out their mindset quickly to play at Boston College and clinch the ACC Atlantic.
Clemson: The Tigers finally looked like the team most expected when they were voted No. 3 in the preseason Top 25 and the clear favorite to win their seventh straight title. It can still happen if the chips fall Clemson’s way.
Wake Forest will drop a bit in the rankings with its uninspired showing at Clemson. Expect Clemson to re-enter the poll — it dropped out in September after a 27-21 OT loss at N.C. State — following its fourth consecutive victory.
Wake Forest plays at Boston College on Saturday.
Clemson seeks its seventh straight win over rival South Carolina next Saturday night.